1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

What is true professionalism? September 16, 2008

 image by axinia

The American College Dictionary explains professionalism as following: Professionalism is exhibited by one of the “professional character, spirit or methods” or the “standing, practice, or methods of a professional as distinguished from an amateur.” However it does not say anything precisely.

Intrestingly there is no explanation of professionalism on Wikipedia, there is one on “professional”, but I believe it is not the same.

I have a feeling that “professionalism” , like one of these mysterious things such as love, is difficult to explain. If you hear “that is done professionally” – what does it actually mean?

Professionalism is both popular and desirable – people are driven to look and to perform professionaly. Recently, during my visit to Germany – this motherland of professionalism 🙂 – I suddenly realised what this phenomenon is about.

To me, professionalism mean an objective action: the art or method of doing any job, by which the task fulfillment rank higher than any personal attitude or feeling.

Let me give you an example. In Frankfurt I met a German doctor who was famous and loved for her high professionalism, accurate diagnostics and very informative and helpful treatment. Especially emigrants were fond of her. Imagine my astonishment, when I found out in a private talk that this lady was rather a Nazi (!) – hating immigrants and fearing their present invasion of Germany. Just imagine! – her professional attitude and dedication were more important that her private views on the origin of her patients. Amazing, isn`t it?

In general I was impressed by the professionalism of everyone I faced in Germany – business people, shop-sellers, consultants, waiters… The heart was mostly lacking :(, but the awareness of doing a good job, of serving the customer  was at the highest level. I miss it in many other countries I visit, and in the first line in my beloved Austria (probable reasons here).

On the other hand, professionalism is exactly what may close the hears of people – they can become too serious and over-responsible (very right-sided), too impersonal and cold…

So what would you prefer – a good-hearted clumsy doctor or a professional one secretly hating you?







20 Responses to “What is true professionalism?”

  1. amzolt Says:

    Good-hearted and clumsy, please !

    ~ Alex from Our Evolution

  2. Nita Says:

    Nice post Axinia. Right now I cannot think of adding anything more to what you have written!

  3. axinia Says:

    @Alex, thank you for your choice!

    thanks, Nita, I was ectually hoping for your extended comment, because you are a good example of a professional with a good heart 🙂

  4. purnima Says:

    gosh!! its quite a revelation!

    being a student haven’t come across people as this
    or maybe there are and i havent been able to recognize esp with a sahaj enviorment around at all times
    its such a fake feel
    well does it mean they arent putting heart into their work
    absolutely right as you said ->right sided people

    I can imagine, that you just did not recognise it – my sister also did not, because she never talked to that lady kind of privately. when i tols her, she was really shocked and could not belive…
    SACHEN GIBT`S ! – axinia

  5. odzer Says:

    I would prefer the nazi emigrant hating one if she was a good doctor if my life depended on it. The problem seems to be that you relate ‘hating emigrants’ as something bad. Does it really matter as long as people do their jobs? People are overly emotional at times.

  6. axinia Says:

    odzer – HATING anyone does matter, that is the point.

    I am myself an immigrant, but I personally never had problems with that (somethow, even Germans like amd exept me, although I am Russian 😉
    UNfortunatley, I know many cases when immogrants have been treated badly onle becasue the are not the locals…

  7. Ramya Says:

    Def…good hearted and clumsy if i have to choose 🙂

  8. Nita Says:

    I am back! And I would prefer a professional anyday because I am not looking for a relationship. But Axinia, even biased people can have good hearts…don’t you think?
    I would definitely prefer a person with a good heart, in all my dealings and I hope I never have to choose between a competent but evil person and incompetent and good person. An evil person in any case is not to be trusted, because he could cut out my kidney and sell it! But as I said, a biased or prejudiced person is different…he may have a good heart, or he may not. I think I have a good sense of who is good. In real life I have it very strongly, this sense, and I am now getting it on the net too, although it is more difficult.

  9. Mavin Says:

    Some very interesting statements…

    The doctor is a thorough professional known for her skill and correct diagnosis and I presume correct and effective course of treatment. The patient feels comfortable, well looked after and is cured and, therefore, she is very popular…

    In her personal life, she is a “Nazi” as you say….

    First observation – The doctor does not allow her personal prejudice to influence her working. They seem to be in two different compartments. This is infact true “professionalism” displayed by a “professional”.

    Second Observation – Minds tends to always believe any negative statement supposedly made about self / others. Nobody has ever heard in person or experienced her dark side. For all you know it may be completely untrue.

    The thorough professional for me anyday…….especially when it is a doctor (and as Nita says it is not for a relationship)…not a clumsy one please….it may be a question of my life.

  10. Nice post but a very difficult question to answer!

    About the doctor, I am not sure what she hates. If she is a Nazi or a neo-Nazi or a racist and hates people just because they are foreigners, then I would stay away from her! Hating people is a sign of a deteriorating mind.

    On the other hand, if she hates the idea of large-scale immigration (and NOT immigrants) because she has some worries and fears (whether they are true or not), then I would not mind getting treated by her because she happens to be good at her work.

    It’s certainly possible to hate ideas, concepts and systems but NOT people, Axinia. It’s possible to have diametrically opposite views on any topic and still be friends, for no two humans are the same.

    By the way, what happened to the previous post, Axinia? I wanted to reply to your comment but I can’t find it here.

    Raj, it was a re-post (with the new Sticky Post function), so I put it back where it was before. Please comment here : https://1000petals.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/take-off-the-shoes-of-your-brain/ thanks! axinia

  11. swaps Says:

    I shall be a professional patient.

  12. axinia Says:

    @Ramya, thanks!

    @Nita, you gave a good point! – if it is not evil person, but just prejudiced, than may be it is not that dangerous to trust.

    @Mavin, thanks for your analysis. True, one can never know for sure, and sometimes it is better not to know at all! 🙂

    @Raj, your view seem a bit idealistic…what I see around, is mostly the opposite – if people are xenophobe, they may even fight/quarrel in a bus with a colourd person JUST because it is a NON-local. I have seen it even in the high-civilised Austria, several times.

    @professional patient? sounds cool, but please clarify 🙂

  13. Atlantic Says:

    Good point swaps, but I’d say it’s better to be a good-hearted and clumsy patient! (LOL) It’s a warm personality that has the power to melt hearts and change minds. Professionalism is just cold. However if you subject it to warmth than hate becomes a lot more difficult.

    By they way, has anyone seen the american TV show with Doctor House. He is neither professional nor good-hearted but he does have a real gift. You can’t help but to love him and respect him for it. Aside from hate everyone has something positive and worth liking about them. You just have to learn to concentrate on the good. It’s not how the doctor feels about you, it’s how you react to it that matters. After all, it’s concentrating on the negitives that ultimatly leads to hate. Counter it with positives and watch the transformation!


  14. That’s bad to read, Axinia. It is just neo-Nazism, xenophobia and racism. I hate such despicable attitudes! I even try to stay away from those who call people names just because they are different. By the way, such despicable tendencies are not restricted to Europe. Though very few Indians will admit this, the fact is that this discriminatory disease is an epidemic in some backward parts of India. It takes the form of casteism 😡 and religious communalism 😡 Instead of feeling ashamed that they harbour such disgusting attitudes towards their fellow citizens in their narrow minds, people try to deny it. This disease of the mind shows no signs of being cured 😡 as even education fails to make a positive change to backward, feudal and regressive mindsets 😦

  15. swaps Says:

    A professional patient is interested only in the cure and not who or how it is administered. I am looking at a converse situation : I am a xenophobe who is ill and an immigrant has a cure. Will I sacrifice my life to my racism?

    Mavin is so right. We may think of ourselves as liberals or racists, but it’s not until we are tested we can be sure of what we are.

  16. Atlantic Says:

    An alien Earthling, Feelings are stronger than any education because people are not generaly rational. It’s not by being shown the facts, but rather feeling the facts on a deeper more personal level. Our mindsets can’t be changed without close contact with the people and or things we hate. Spend some quality time together and maybe we find we don’t hate after all.


  17. axinia Says:

    love your comment, Atlatic!! – that is so true, have nothing to add ot it now…

  18. radha Says:

    I cant believe there are still people who have these sort of “nazi” feelings. There is certainly something wrong and “expired” in their personality. As a consequence how can they be professional at their job? You have to see the context. i dont think you will never find this kind of deviated personality in any other city. It is significant that this person leaves and work exactly in the same country where nazism originated. For my doctoral diagnosis anyway i would never choose Germany. True professionalism must go, for me, beyond this mind schemes. cheers, r

  19. Atlantic, that is a great comment, my friend. Now I know why Canada happens to be one of the most progressive countries in the world where democracy and freedom flourish in every sense of the word. It is Canadians’ ability to come to terms with the past and learn from their past actions and correct them that gives your country its progressive nature. An example is the way your Prime Minister apologised on behalf of Canada and all Canadians to the First Nations people.

    Alas, this is not true of many societies 😦 Some mindsets are just too backward 😡 to accept positive change. Filthy, disgusting concepts like untouchability 😡 (that is worse than racism and xenophobia) and nauseating hatred 😡 for followers of other religions is quite deep-rooted in some feudal minds. Even people who claim to be “educated” are not free of this vile mental disease as you can see below. Thankfully, not everyone is like that as you can read from this post by a blogger:


    Some people describe India as part Silicon Valley and part Stone Age with regard to development. This is not exactly correct. Actually, it should be more like part futuristic mindsets and part regressive, mediæval thinking 😦

  20. axinia Says:

    Dear all, thank you for this intresting discussion and your important points!
    I am enjoying reading and learning from you…

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